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Thread: It's early 1989 and you're flying in hostile airspace....

  1. #1
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    It's early 1989 and you're flying in hostile airspace....

    You're patrolling with your squadron in hostile airspace and you spot an approximately equal number of enemy aircraft at roughly the same altitude. From previous encounters you know your training and your adversaries are pretty much a wash. What particular aircraft do you wish you were flying? American? French? Soviet? British? Israeli? ...mix of?

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    I will take one of these:

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    If this was two years later, I would go for an F-15C armed with AIM-120A, or F-14D.. but since that is not an option yet, then my best bet would be either F-14A+ or Su-27S.

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    In 1989, you could be flying an F-15C with AMRAAM provided you were flying F-15C's out of Eglin. No guarantees they would work very well (don't think the missile passed all live fire tests till end of year).

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    Well, hard to fly in hostile airspace out of Eglin AFB.. Unless you're trying to invade Mexico..

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    Mirage 2000C RDI (look down&shoot down radar) with its Mach 4,5 SUPER 530D.

    just before the AMRAAM became widespread it was the best frontline western air superiority fighter. There was a short period where it was at the very top: 1986 till early 1990's. 1989 was right in its peak of glory as a modern system.

    Only when the mirage 2000-5 with Mica was released later in the 1990's the type regained an edge vs early version of AMRAAM (A&B)...Until AIM120C-5 came in number...It was then more evenly matched.
    Last edited by eagle1; 12th December 2017 at 17:08.

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    It's sad that they didn't get the occasion to score at least once during GWI.


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    Super 530D has no track record to suggest any advantage over anything else.

    During that era F-15C and F-14A were in their prime. Situational awareness was key. AWACS support of Sparrow/Skyflash equipped fighters was king at the time.
    AIM-54 and R-33, like Super 530D, were big missiles with no track record to base superiority on. The Pk of missiles approached zero as range grew.
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    It's somehow boring but I think that F-15 was the king at the time.
    su-27: not officially in service, hard to believe it was already mature enought to threat de F15s
    mig-29: with r-27 probably the biggest threat, still short-legs, weaker radar...
    mig-23: a threat in good hands but clearly inferior to f-15
    F-14: close but inferior in every aspect
    f-16: no way, not at the time
    Mirage2000: only in French forums
    Mig30/25: at least you would always have the chance to outpace anybody on your way back home. probably my second choice.

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    Another vote for the F-15C from the USAF, especially if it came with the AWACS and tanker support that would be part of a US package and doctrine.

    Israeli F-15 would be a good choice as well in terms of equipment, training and experience.

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    Super 530D has no track record to suggest any advantage over anything else.

    During that era F-15C and F-14A were in their prime. Situational awareness was key. AWACS support of Sparrow/Skyflash equipped fighters was king at the time.
    AIM-54 and R-33, like Super 530D, were big missiles with no track record to base superiority on. The Pk of missiles approached zero as range grew.
    That's incorrect, the Super 530 does have a track record in actual combat...Against F14 mind you. Even a older generation mirage F1 with an older radar could down an F14 with its super 530 like in the Irak-Iran war (on july 19th, 1988). So I let you imagine what could a newer generation mirage 2000C RDI with the latest version of the Super 530 do in 1989 - It had a very modern EW suite for the time as well along with a true look down/shoot down radar which was quite tricky at that time. Until the Amraam replaced the sparrow, the mirage 2000C RDI was at the top of what the west could offer in terms of air superiority - from 1986 to early 90's when the Amraam was fielded in numbers.

    For the record the SUPER 530D is a mach 4,5 missile designed to take down mach 3 MIG-25. It was way superior to the Arrow. Everything else being equal, the mirage 2000C RDI is definitely the best choice in 1989 for air superiority.
    Last edited by eagle1; 13th December 2017 at 23:20.

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    RDI wasn't exactly the de facto M2K radar in 1998. RDM was the radar in service. If the AMRAAM is not allowed then certainly RDI is likewise inappropriate.

    Mirage 2000 with RDM might hold the MiG-25PDS / R-40 at a standoff, but USN F-14A had fleet resources that would have deteriorated Mirage's ability to conduct its mission. Likewise, the F-15C had similar resources. The Iranians did not. Your example was a blinded two decade old F-14A against a brand new Mirage F.1 employing jamming and a new missile that wasn't even in full serial production.
    Go Huskers!

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    Quote Originally Posted by eagle1 View Post
    That's incorrect, the Super 530 does have a track record in actual combat...Against F14 mind you. Even a older generation mirage F1 with an older radar could down an F14 with its super 530 like in the Irak-Iran war (on july 19th, 1988). So I let you imagine what could a newer generation mirage 2000C RDI with the latest version of the Super 530 do in 1989 - It had a very modern EW suite for the time as well along with a true look down/shoot down radar which was quite tricky at that time. Until the Amraam replaced the sparrow, the mirage 2000C RDI was at the top of what the west could offer in terms of air superiority - from 1986 to early 90's when the Amraam was fielded in numbers.
    .
    That is absurd, the super 530F was a heavy SARH missile with shorter range and limited envelope against maneuvering targets than the AIM-7F/P. And exactly how was the RDM a “true look down/shoot down radar” compared to the AN/APG-63 MSIP II (or AN/APG-70)

    The consensus would be the F-15C MSIP II was the “premier air superiority aircraft” of the West in the late 80’s and it wasn’t particularly close. The M2000C still in the nascent stage of it’s development despite it’s introduction in the mid 80’s particularly in regard to radar performance.

    Had even Dassault believed Mirage 2000C equaled or exceeded the capabilities of the early F-15, they wouldn’t have funded the Mirage 4000 for a possible export market. A better question would be if Belgium and the Netherlands would have been better off with a split buy of F-16’s and Mirage 2000’s, 2 ATAF was lacking in BVR capable fighters in 1989, and would have been at a severe disadvantage vs. Soviet frontal aviation (especially considering the MiG-29’s had HMS and R-73 to counter the knife fighting ability of the F-16). Hindsight being 20/20 and no one knowing the AMRAAM was going to be five years late.
    Last edited by FBW; 14th December 2017 at 05:59.

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    It may sound "boring" but definitely the F-15C. Even if its only armed with AIM-7s instead of AIM-120s. My second choice would be the F-14A+ (F-14B).

    F/A-18C wouldn't be a bad choice although MiG-29s will definitely be tough prey.

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    Wish to say the Saab Viggen, but i'll choose the SU-27S. Has good combination of R-73 and R-27 missiles; good radar range and IRST; Shchel-3UM HMD that enables look to kill capability combined with the R-73 missile. Yes it is "officially" in service in 1990, but it is already operational as early as 1987, during the close encounter with Norwegian P-3C.

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    That is absurd, the super 530F was a heavy SARH missile with shorter range and limited envelope against maneuvering targets than the AIM-7F/P. And exactly how was the RDM a “true look down/shoot down radar” compared to the AN/APG-63 MSIP II (or AN/APG-70)

    The consensus would be the F-15C MSIP II was the “premier air superiority aircraft” of the West in the late 80’s and it wasn’t particularly close. The M2000C still in the nascent stage of it’s development despite it’s introduction in the mid 80’s particularly in regard to radar performance.

    Had even Dassault believed Mirage 2000C equaled or exceeded the capabilities of the early F-15, they wouldn’t have funded the Mirage 4000 for a possible export market. A better question would be if Belgium and the Netherlands would have been better off with a split buy of F-16’s and Mirage 2000’s, 2 ATAF was lacking in BVR capable fighters in 1989, and would have been at a severe disadvantage vs. Soviet frontal aviation (especially considering the MiG-29’s had HMS and R-73 to counter the knife fighting ability of the F-16). Hindsight being 20/20 and no one knowing the AMRAAM was going to be five years late.
    Why are you talking about the 530F and RDM radar ? We are talking about the 530D and the RDI radar which entered in front line service in 1987, it is perfectly valid for 1989. The Super 530D is longer and heavier than the 530F with up to date electronics and was designed to intercept MIG-25. it could fly at mach 4,5 and could reach +9000 m in elevation compared to the firing aircraft, it was a very impressive missile until multi-target missiles (fire and forget) became the norm. It has characteristics the Sparrow just could not match. In exercises in the late 80's the mirage 2000C RDI dominated the arena even against F15C, F16 etc...Less so (to say the least) a few years later when the Amraam came in numbers. Only when the 2000-5 with mica arrived it regained a clear edge in the late 90's (scoring 40-1 against modern NATO jet in its first exercise) ...until the AIM-120C-5 was fielded which has a slightly greater range than the Mica.

    If an older mirage F1 can shoot down an F14 in actual BVR combat like it did in 1988, you can guess the differential with the Mirage 2000C RDI with Super 530D in 1989 vs F14 and F15.

    As for the mirage 4000 vs F15, a bigger aircraft has its advantage giving you a better endurance in combat but it has also downside like an increased RCS. The point is in 1989, the mirage 2000C RDI was at the very top of western air superiority fighter. A few years later this same aircraft was outclassed when "fire and forget' missiles became the norm, but right in 1989 it could dominate F15C and F14 relatively easily - everything else being equal. The question was what aircraft would you pick in 1989 (stand alone).
    Last edited by eagle1; 14th December 2017 at 14:16.

  17. #17
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    su-27: not officially in service, hard to believe it was already mature enought to threat de F15s
    su-27 was in service but yes I agree not a direct threat to f-15
    depends on who is operating the f-15
    KSA f-15s in 1989 were not such a great threat IMHO

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    We are talking about the 530D and the RDI radar which entered in front line service in 1987, it is perfectly valid for 1989.
    IIRC Indian Air Force considers MiG-29 radar + R-27R superior to Mirage 2000 + Super-530D. In the late 80s Soviet Union had MiG-29 9.13 Fulcrum-C with L-203BE Gardenyia-1 ECM system by the way.

    Su-27, F-15 or MiG-31 would be my choices.
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    IIRC Indian Air Force considers MiG-29 radar + R-27R superior to Mirage 2000 + Super-530D. In the late 80s Soviet Union had MiG-29 9.13 Fulcrum-C with L-203BE Gardenyia-1 ECM system by the way.

    Su-27, F-15 or MiG-31 would be my choices.
    Indian mirage had the older RDM radar not the RDI if I am not mistaken. Do you have a source ? I never heard about it from the IAF, only for dogfighting. Mirage 2000 + RDI and SUPER 530D were a superior combo in 1989.

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    Do you have a source ? I never heard about it from the IAF, only for dogfighting. Mirage 2000 + RDI and SUPER 530D were a superior combo in 1989.
    It was mentioned here and at ACIG. Marcos Viniegra/Pit provided more details. In any case, Indian Mirage 2000 use RDM, which is a simple upgrade of Cyrano-IV.
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    Why are you talking about the 530F and RDM radar ? We are talking about the 530D and the RDI radar which entered in front line service in 1987, it is perfectly valid for 1989.
    For very good reason, at the start of 1989 France had 50 odd Mirage 2000C of which 37 had the RDM radar. There was one unit going through IOC with the RDI and 530D. If your going to claim these were operational, then so was the AMRAAM that was being fielded by the 33rd TFW (and actually more AMRAAM had been manufactured than 530D by '89).

    By what logic you can claim the RDI and Super 530D was superior to the AN/APG-63 or 70 MSIP II and Aim-7F/P, I cannot guess. Both were look down/shootdown capable, the latter radars had much longer range and superior NCTR capabilities.

    Whatever the bad rep the Aim-7 gets, it was an effective weapon by '89 in the M/P variants, that was lighter than the Super 530D, longer ranged, and the F-15 was capable of carrying more than two.

    Not going to get into your comments over the Super 530 shooting down an Iranian F-14, except that Iraq had 88 Mirage F-1 and were supplied with super 530F missiles. 9 of those were lost to coalition aircraft with zero confirmed kills (conflicting reports on the EF-111). Not to mention, the Gulf War was not a proud moment for the Armée de l'Air, they were relegated to secondary roles as they found out they were ill equipped for modern air warfare. The embarrassment led to a considerable modernization push and integration with allies. The result was effective force by the end of the 90's.
    Last edited by FBW; 14th December 2017 at 16:39.

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    for very good reason, at the start of 1989 France had 50 odd Mirage 2000C of which 37 had the RDM radar. There was one unit going through IOC with the RDI and 530D. If your going to claim these were operational, then so was the AMRAAM that was being fielded by the 33rd TFW (and actually more AMRAAM had been manufactured than 530D by '89).

    By what logic you can claim the RDI and Super 530D was superior to the AN/APG-63 or 70 MSIP II and Aim-7F/P, I cannot guess. Both were look down/shootdown capable, the latter radars had much longer range and superior NCTR capabilities.

    Whatever the bad rep the Aim-7 gets, it was an effective weapon by '89 in the M/P variants, that was lighter than the Super 530D, longer ranged, and the F-15 was capable of carrying more than two.

    Not going to get into your comments over the Super 530 shooting down an Iranian F-14, except that Iraq had 88 Mirage F-1 and were supplied with super 530F missiles. 9 of those were lost to coalition aircraft with zero confirmed kills (conflicting reports on the EF-111). Not to mention, the Gulf War was not a proud moment for the Armée de l'Air, they were relegated to secondary roles as they found out they were ill equipped for modern air warfare. The embarrassment led to a considerable modernization push and integration with allies. The result was effective force by the end of the 90's.
    The mirage 2000C RDI was operational since 1987 with the armée de l'air, we are not talking of a dedicated test squadron. This is not the same thing. As for the mirage F1 it did score a kill on Iranian F14 on July 19th 1988 with a super 530 piloted by iraqi pilot Ali Sabah. The Iranian pilot Gholamreza Nezamabadi managed to eject. The mirage F1 scored other kills but not with the Super 530.

    As for the French air Force in the gulf war, it perhaps had shortcomings in terms of Nato interoperability which might have hindered its ability to participate in a coalition, but that has nothing to do with the mirage 2000C as a platform and weapon system which was in 1989 probably the best air superiority aircraft at that date.
    Last edited by eagle1; 14th December 2017 at 17:34.

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    Final comment then done on this, here is an interview with a RAF exchange pilot on the Mirage 2000C.

    Especially note the part about the F-15C. He mentions AMRAAM, but more importantly was his comment on SA (which has zero to do with the missile)

    https://hushkit.net/2016/10/13/mirag...ric-cakeslice/

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    Final comment then done on this, here is an interview with a RAF exchange pilot on the Mirage 2000C.

    Especially note the part about the F-15C. He mentions AMRAAM, but more importantly was his comment on SA (which has zero to do with the missile)

    https://hushkit.net/2016/10/13/mirag...ric-cakeslice/
    I already know this interview, but you are beside the point, we are talking of year 1989 and at that date there were no amraam in front line squadron. Clearly the mirage 2000C RDI was outclassed by F15C with amraam in the 90's but also other platforms using the amraam. But in 1989, an operational mirage 2000C RDI had not a lot to fear from a F15C. The situation changed with the mirage 2000-5 which would be a more fair comparison. It clearly outclassed aircrafts with AIM-120A & B. When the AIM-120C-5 was fielded, the "dash five" was more evenely matched. Note that in the interview he said that the "older genartion did not stand a chance" vs the mirage 2000C RDI - given he takes the F16 block-50 as a reference that give you quite a margin in 1989...
    Last edited by eagle1; 14th December 2017 at 17:49.

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    Please explain how the AMRAAM has anything to do with situational awareness. He specifically states the Mirage 2000C was outclassed. That is not just due to the AMRAAM, it was due to a significantly more powerful radar with LPI modes, sophisticated NCTR, JTIDS, AN/ALQ-135. The RDI was considered roughly comparable to the F-16's AN/APG-68, even by the Greeks who operated both (actually they stated the APG-68 was comparable to the later RDY, the original Greek 2000C had RDM-3)
    Last edited by FBW; 14th December 2017 at 18:04.

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    Please explain how the AMRAAM has anything to do with situational awareness. He specifically states the Mirage 2000C was outclassed. That is not just due to the AMRAAM, it was due to a significantly more powerful radar with LPI modes, sophisticated NCTR, JTIDS, AN/ALQ-135. The RDI was considered roughly comparable to the F-16's AN/APG-68, even by the Greeks who operated both!
    He flew the mirage 2000C RDI between 1993-1997 not in 1989. Unlike the F15, The M2k RDI did not evolve. To operate a "fire and forget" missile you need significant radar improvements such as a datalink and increased performance/calculators to be able to track and engage several targets simultaneously. For instance the RDI has never been able to handle such type of missiles. So it is an unfair comparison which is beside the point of the thread which is to talk of fighter jets in 1989. You should compare the F15C with amraam with the mirage 2000-5. The mirage 2000C RDI should be compared to F15C with Sparrow. By the way Taiwanese mirage 2000-5 were fielded earlier than the french air force so that would be very valid.

    In 1989 it certainly did not lack in situation awarness:
    “As a weapons system the Mirage 2000 is a great ‘package’ with a good radar , onboard electronic countermeasures and radar warning receiver. It also packs a good array of weapons – with air-to-air refuelling its a formidable fighter. “
    Last edited by eagle1; 14th December 2017 at 18:07.

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    missile you need significant radar improvements such as a datalink and increased performance/calculators to be able to track and engage several targets simultaneously. For instance the RDI has never been able to handle such type of missiles
    Yet the F-15C did have the the ability to deploy the AMRAAM in 1989 had they been FOC, the F-15C MSIP II had datalink, superior radar, superior SA as the pilot stated. In essence, the F-15C he was comparing in 1992 was no different than the F-15C of 1989 except the AMRAAM.

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    To me Amram was fielded on some f-15 units flying over Irak during GWI. (Source GWI debrief)

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    I fail to see how the Super 530D was significantly better than the AIM-7M/7P. Yes higher top speed (Mach 4.5 vs 4) but effective range is going to be similar and the F-15C has the better radar set and on-board ECM gear. Plus it's carrying 4 Sparrows versus 2 530s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    Please explain how the AMRAAM has anything to do with situational awareness.
    You do not have to go into STT mode at all when you fire on your opponent, so can continue to take advantage of the TWS display which tells you what aircraft other than your target are up to. Mid-course data-link guidance meant STT could be delayed significantly with late-model SARH missiles and other measures probably contributed more to SA, but there absolutely is a benefit from ARH missiles in this regard.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBW View Post
    That is not just due to the AMRAAM, it was due to a significantly more powerful radar with LPI modes, sophisticated NCTR, JTIDS, AN/ALQ-135.
    JTIDS was only ever installed in a handful of F-15s, it took another 10 to 15 years before the lower-cost MIDS terminal made Link-16 widely available on Western fighters (and then not just the F-15). French EW systems tend to be quite good, pound for pound, so I'd be careful about assuming TEWS was in another league or something.

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